On a weekend with no set plans, it is always a good idea to come up with a project. Now, that was not always the case, but since we have a toddler in our midst we must be prepared to be terrifically entertaining at all times. Baking cookies is a hit with Fe., but who wants to turn on the oven in the middle of summer?
Not I, said the fly.
An equally thrilling -- and I don't use the word lightly -- kitchen adventure is to mix up a vat of ice cream. There literally were squeals of delight throughout Sunday's frozen dessert caper. This is what people call a win-win situation, because Fe. was beside himself and I finally have my very first dessert to tell you about.
Hurray! It's about time.
So this wasn't technically ice cream. There wasn't any dairy in sight. It was sorbet, and a genius sorbet at that.
I recently stumbled across an exciting new column on Food 52 called Genius Recipes. The idea is to share recipes that are the best of the best, recipes that change how we cook and how we view cooking altogether. The first column touts the Strawberry Lemon Sorbet from The River Café Cookbook as life changing.
And it is, even if just for getting me to make my first batch of sorbet ever. It's also pretty stunning that just three ingredients -- strawberries, lemon and sugar -- can produce something so wholly marvelous. There is a bit of washing up afterwards, but really the process is a cinch. Fe. got to participate throughout. I now see pushing the pulse button on the food processor in an entirely different light.
One whole lemon (pith and peel included, just no seeds, please) and 2 whole cups of sugar (yikes!) are whizzed in the food processor to form a puckery slush, worthy of many finger dips. The mixture gets scraped into a bowl, and then the strawberries get their chance with the pulse button. The purée is added to the slush to the sound of many gleeful yelps. You taste for acidity and add the juice of one to two lemons depending on your appreciation of sour and sweet.
The dazzling red soup is poured into the ice cream maker and in about twenty-five minutes you have a frosty sweet strawberry summer treat. The flavor is banging strawberry with just a hint of tart lemon (I used the juice of two). I felt quite grateful for the zesty lemon, because this sorbet is sweet. Honestly, I'd like to try the recipe again with slightly less sugar, but it really is pretty terrific as is.
The River Café's Strawberry Lemon Sorbet
2 cups sugar
2 pounds strawberries, hulled
Chop one lemon into chunks, removing any seeds, and place it in the bowl of a food processor. Add two cups of sugar and pulse, until well mixed. Scrape mixture into a large bowl.
Add the strawberries to the food processor and purée. Add the strawberries to the lemon mixture along with the juice of one lemon. Stir. Taste for acidity and lemon flavor. Add more lemon juice if you like.
Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and churn until frozen.
Makes 1 1/2 quarts